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Notice to Coaches Posted

01/18/2018, 4:45pm CST
By Devin Donnelly


Please be advised that the following notice was sent today from the National Office to active USA Fencing coaches:

Notice to USA Fencing Coaches

USA Fencing has recently seen an increase in the number of complaints related to coaching behavior at all levels of competition. Often, the information provided describes situations of coaching behavior that are inappropriate and disruptive to athletes and others at the event.

As per our Rules of Competition t.82 3.a: “Everybody taking part in or present at a fencing competition must remain orderly and must not disturb the smooth running of the competition.” This includes not insulting the referee or attempting to manipulate or influence him or her in any way. Furthermore, “the Referee must stop immediately any activity which disturbs the smooth running of the bout which he is refereeing.”

Similarly, Rule t.93 provides: “Spectators are obliged not to interfere with the good order of a competition, to do nothing which may tend to influence the fencers or the Referee, and to respect the decisions of the latter even when they do not agree with them. They must obey any instructions which the Referee may deem it necessary to give them.”

The Referees’ Commission has been provided with this Notice to Coaches and has been asked to enforce these rules consistently. Individuals who are not in compliance with the rules of competition may be subject to a Yellow and/or Black Card and expulsion from the competition or tournament, and facility. See Rules t.82.3(b), t.93, t.118-19.

USA Fencing is committed to creating a safe and positive environment for athletes’ physical, emotional and social development. We ask for your cooperation in achieving this goal and that everyone allow our fencers to fence and our officials to officiate.

If you have additional questions, please contact the National Office at 719.866.4511 or

Per the Referees’ Commission Chair, these rules are to be consistently enforced at USA Fencing events; coaches have been informed to expect as such by the dissemination of the memo. Please re-familiarize yourself with rules t.82.3(b), t.93, and t.118/119.

Good luck out there,

Devin Donnelly, on behalf of the Referees' Commission

Tag(s): Rules Blog